This month, the March 23 (M23) rebel movement in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) announced it would agree to a cease-fire only if the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), another armed group active in the DRC, were “neutralized.” In an email interview, Christoph Vogel, a Mercator Fellow in International Affairs researching armed conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo, explained the FDLR’s current strength and the regional cooperation necessary to disarm it.
WPR: What is the current profile of the FDLR in terms of its rough location, size and ability to pose a military threat?
Christoph Vogel: The once mighty rebel group FDLR, built from the former Rwandan Interahamwe who committed the genocide in 1994, has considerably weakened recently. Politically, the leadership is under pressure, as high cadres Ignace Murwanashyaka and Straton Musoni stand trial for war crimes in Germany. (Callixte Mbarushimana, another high-level FDLR commander, has been acquitted of International Criminal Court charges, however.)